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animal groups

There are certain ways of counting animals; a pride of lions, a pack of wolves, a school of fish, a flight of birds, a drove of cattle, a troop of chimpanzees, etc. Sometimes the group name is interchangeable, although one is sometimes preferred over the other. For sheep, both "a herd of" and "a flock of" are used, although " a flock of" is preferred, according to the Google search. For elephants, "a herd of " is the norm, not "a flock of ". The size of the group, the size of the animals...Read More...

'speak French' or 'speak IN French'

Hello I'd like to check which is correct. 1) Can I speak French at the meeting? 2) Can I speak in French at the meeting? Shoud I put "in" or are both correct? And one more question: Is 3) OK? 3) Can I use French at the meeting? Thank you. LinaRead More...

present perfect in a dependent clause expressing future idea

Present perfect used in the dependent clause of a sentence expressing a future idea. We normally teach that, if you have a sentence with an independent and a dependent clause expressing future ideas, the verb in the independent clause shows future time and the verb in the dependent clause is expressed using a present time form. --> Tomorrow, when she [gets] here, I ['ll leave] immediately. However, sometimes we can use present perfect in the dependent clause. --> You ['ll feel] much...Read More...

the expression of gratitude

Hello I'd like to ask about the expression of gratitude. 1) You've been very kind to me. I cannot thank you too much. Is this expression Ok? Is " too much " correct? If it's not, would you tell me the right way? Thank you. LinaRead More...

Past perfect and chronological sequencing

Past perfect and simple past for sequenced actions in the past. Normally, grammar books teach that, when we have two events in the past, and one is completed before the next one occurs, the event that occurs first in time is expressed using past perfect, and the one that occurs closest to present time is expressed using simple past: --> He [had already finished] by the time she [arrived]. However, in some instances, the event that occurs earliest is expressed in simple past, and the...Read More...

Backshift or not

Hello, teachers! Please help me with this! 1. He realized that he [forgot, had forgotten] the dentist's appointment. 2. He realized that he [forgot, had forgotten] about the promise. Would you please tell me which tense is correct? Some people say that "had forgotten" is the only correct choice in both sentences. I agree with them that "had forgotten" is more common, but I think "forgot" is also correct when we say that he forgot and didn't meet the appointment or keep the promise while the...Read More...

Tense in the because-clause

Hello, teachers! Would you please tell me which tense is correct? The tenses in bold are the ones that, teachers in an edu-TV say, are correct. 1. She is sad as she [is, was ] dismissed. [I agree with the teacher.] 2. She was sad as she [was, had been ] dismissed. 3. Last night she looked sad since she [ was, had been ] fired. [I think #2 and #3 has the same structure and meaning. However, the teachers say different ways. Which is correct? Are both OK, or is only the past perfect OK?] 4. He...Read More...

The simple past or past perfect

Hello, teachers! Would you please tell me which tense is correct? I think both are OK with the same meaning. Am I correct? 1. She told me proudly that she [earned, had earned] $120,000 last year. 2. She told me outright that she couldn't forget that I [dumped, had dumped] her. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...

for x to

Hi, Should I use "for" or "to", in sentences such as _____ me, the best option is ... It sounds / seems very strange ______ me I think "for" is slightly better than "to" in the first one and "to" is better in the second one, but I'm not sure! Prepositions are indeed an eternal challenge ! By the way, a challenge for me, or a challenge to me? Oh God... ...A challenge... I think "for me" sounds better here, like, "They're very difficult for me", "It's difficult for me / It's a challenge for me...Read More...

For/to me

This was originally posted by Gisele at 11:11 P.M. September 24 Hi again, In the following pairs, are both options possible and do they mean the same? Pair 1: (a) This is important for me (b) This is important to me Pair 2: (a) It is important for me to understand this (b) It is important to me to understand this Pair 3: (a) For me, this is a matter of great importance (b) To me, this is a matter of great importance Thanks, GiseleRead More...

neither...nor I

Hello, I have some doubts related to verb agreement when we use the neither-nor construction. I have read all kinds of conflicting information about the topic and I'm very confused! I'm especially interested in the case when the first person singular subject pronoun "I" is the second item. In fact, this is another point that is not clear to me - the need / lack of need to use "I" in the second position. For example, what is the correct agreement in a sentence like, "Neither ... nor I < be...Read More...

Relative pronoun in complement use

Todays' third question relates to relative pronouns which are used as complements. In an effort to understand this, I refered to A COMPREHENSIVE GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE (1985) by Quirk et al. But the explanations seem to be contradictory and confusing (probably because of my lack of understading). The followings are their explanations; 1. In page 367, Note b. Which can have a personal noun phrase as its antecedent when the head is a complement with the role of characterization. ex)...Read More...

Guilty or not?

This question has been sent in by Ender . Which one is correct or do they mean the same? a) in the trial, he was found not guilty b) in the trial, he was not found guiltyRead More...

"do " and "can" + "understand" or "know"

"to understand" and "to know" have a semantic similarity. But we say "Do you understand ?" and "Can you understand?" although "can you" version is used less frequently. One tenth of "Do you understand" in Google search. On the other hand, we say "Do you know something?" but we almost never say " Can you know something?". I'm wondering how to explain this fact to students. Any help or advice would be appreciated. Thank you always. Apple.Read More...

tense in "not until" cluse

Hi, once again, I wonder if both of the two sentences are right; 1.Not until 1926 did no one succeed in building a rocket. 2. Not until 1926 had no one succeeded in building a rocket. Both the sentences seem to make sense to me. If I understand that they succeeded in building a rocket in 1926, above number 1 seems to be correct. But if I want to express that building a rocket was not succeeded before 1926, number 2 seems to make more sense. Please kindly let me know if I am right.Read More...

pronoun

I hearfully thank you for your informative answers given to my questions. Were it not for this site, I would get lost finding no way to solving questions. You always make me feel that grammar is exciting and enjoyable. I am reading a Toefl grammar book and the following question grabs my attention: After the Revolution, although some advances were made in education, _____ a slow process. In the question, the answer to be put into the underlined part is "it was" rather than "they were".Read More...

Ago

Hi, I came to come across the following sentence; "Experts came to see the paintings and said that they had been painted over 20,000 years ago" The author seems to have used past participle in "had been painted" because its tense is past of the past "said." However, according to Michael Swan (p.33, Practical English Usage, second edition), "Ago is used with a past tense and a time expression to count back from the present" while "Before is used in the same way (with a past perfective tense)"...Read More...

pico de gallo

I recently found a recipe for rhubarb pico de gallo. It is a kind of salsa. What does "pico de gallo" mean specifically in relation to salsa?Read More...

uchronia

I found this word in an article by Philip Roth in the New York Times Book Review. I cannot find it in any of my online dictionaries. He was talking about Orwell's view of the world and wrote, "He imagined a dystopia, I imagined a uchronia."Read More...

"fun", comparative form?

1. It's important to keep a promise. 2. It's fun to play tennis. Looking at the two sentences above, we can see both "important" and "fun" are adjectives. What are the comparative and superlative forms of "fun"? Since it's a short adjective with a single short vowel, it should be, according to the general rule, funner and funnest, as in "redder, reddest", but I don't think they are standard usage yet. Then "more fun" and "the most fun" would be acceptable? AppleRead More...

"Responsible' + infinitive, or + 'for' and gerund?

This question has been sent in by J. Ebert. Someone edited my copy. I took issue. Version 1: The board is responsible to determine the budget. Version 2: The board is responsible for determining the budget. _______ Question 1: Which is correct? Both seem grammatically correct to me. Question 2: If both are grammatically correct, should one be preferred, or is it purely a matter of personal choice? Question 3: If one should be preferred, why?Read More...

'While' and 'although'

Hello, As I was browsing earlier today in a forum on another site about the English language, a posting caught my attention. The discussion regards the possibility of using "while", with the meaning of "although", in the following sentences: 1 - The street is wet while it hasn't been raining 2 - While it hasn't been raining, the street is wet I find both sentences a bit strange (the second seems a little better – I can't explain why!) I know the conjunction "while" can be equivalent to...Read More...

'Will finish' or 'will have finished'?

This question was sent in by Sehoon. By the time I go to bed tonight, I ___ my work for the day. a. will finish b. have finished c. will have finished d. finish ---->Answer Key is "c. will have finished." Is "will" also correct if "will" express willingness? Thank you very much, Have a good day!Read More...

We or They?

When asked "How are your family?" in an email, can you reply "We are fine"? Or is it more proper and natural to say "They are fine"? Apple.Read More...

'Percentage is' or 'percentage are'

I wonder whether the "Answer Key" is correct or not. 1. What percentage of the people in the world (is, are) illiterate? ---> Answer Key is "is". I think "are" is correct. Am I wrong?Read More...
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